ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque is promising a “better, brighter” solution to its problem with old street lights. Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry announced plans Tuesday for a new project to better illuminate the city’s streets.
Mayor Berry said converting thousands of street lights to energy efficient LED lights is the answer to a lot of problems.
“I think more of the city neighborhoods need to be lit up more,” said Alfonso Martinez, a long-time Albuquerque resident.
That’s exactly what Mayor Berry addressed Tuesday in his announcement to “re-light” the city.
“The trend around the world is to take street lights into the LED arena, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do with this project,” said Mayor Berry.
The plan is to convert 19,000 city-owned street lights to energy efficient LEDs.
Citelum, an international group based in Paris, won the bid to put the plan into action. They manage 2.5 million street lights across the globe, in places like Paris, Copenhagen and Spain.
“Not only is it going to allow our city to be brighter and safer, it’s going to allow us to be better stewards of our environment,” Mayor Berry explained.
City officials said the current fixtures across Albuquerque are old, and they create frustrating problems for people who call in wanting them fixed.
Other residents complain they don’t have enough lights to begin with.
“The street I live on, there’s only one light on the whole block,” Martinez told KRQE News 13.
Mayor Berry addressed citizens’ frustration when it takes a while to get a broken light fixed.
“I think this is gonna help improve that a great deal,” Berry explained.
Not only will workers be able to better maintain the new lights, it’ll save the city energy and money, said Mayor Berry.
City officials said the new lights will last three to five times longer than the old ones.
The first phase of the project includes inventory of the city’s light system. Next, officials will go into neighborhoods and address the needs of the community for better lighting.
“We’re going to be able to be more responsive,” explained Michael Riordan, Chief Operations Officer for the city of Albuquerque. “It’s not going to take multiple trips to fix the same light, we’re going to be able to do it the first time we get out there.”
Plus, Mayor Berry said the city plans to add 20 workers to help maintain the new lights.
Citelum will help the city assess the needs of each part of the city, and according to city officials, ultimately help make the streets a little safer.
PNM owns the other roughly 19,000 street lights in Albuquerque. The utility company is deciding if it also wants to convert to LEDs.
The project is expected to take a couple years, and cost about $450 per light, or more than $10 million.
City officials said the energy savings will help pay that off.